Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Endangered Species

Mar 05, 2006

I am a scientist; it says so in my job description (and my Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists membership). Yet I do not even remotely resemble the stereotypical picture of a scientist (except, maybe, for the hair). I don't even write and think like a stereotypical scientist. I am by no means alone. So I am prompted by this item to wonder where such stereotypical images originate. Not how they're broadcast, the usual mass media suspects are easily implicated there, but how the original (inaccurate) idea is developed and popularized. There are so many such misconceptions about in our popular imagery, and it is difficult to draw them out and analyze them, but I have to wonder about the implications of a picture that is not real of ourselves and our culture. I am afraid we are losing ourselves, not just scientists but all of us, and I am afraid this disaffectation may in the long run cause irreparable harm to our society.


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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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